Siu Fung Law: Gay Games Hong Kong

JasonCommunity, Feature, Lifestyle, Sports + Fitness Comments

We spoke with the current Sports Director on the bidding team for the 2022 Gay Games to be hosted in Hong Kong. Siu Fung is a competitive female body builder and transgender rights advocate who identifies as transgender queer. Achieving ‘light-bulb’ moments from competing under the spotlight on stage, he shares his perspective on the human body and gender binaries.

Photo Credit: Gray Wong

“My body is a genderless body. Masculinity is different to muscularity: having muscles doesn’t make you masculine. Muscles are just part of our human anatomy.”SIU FUNG LAW
How did you get into bodybuilding?

Three years ago, after trying marathon running and then dragon-boating for the HK team, I started working out in the gym and met my ex-coach there. Two years later, with his guidance, I decided to participate in body building contests.

This August I had my first competition in Hong Kong. I competed in the ‘Female Physique’ category – the most muscular female category in HK. Girls with large boobs and butts compete in bikinis and heels in the smallest category, ‘Figure’ or ‘Shape’. Then there’s the ‘Fitness’ category. Each category increases with muscle size.

What is the attitude towards female bodybuilding in Hong Kong?

There used to be the bigger ‘Body Building’ category but it’s mostly cancelled in the US because the body building industry doesn’t believe that female body building is marketable. There is a bias towards what muscular women should look like, and female body builders are too ‘extreme’. In HK, I would say that I’m the only active female body builder. The previous generation of body builders is mostly retired or coaching. The judges have said that I am too big and muscular for ‘Female Physique’. So either I have to reduce my size or I should not compete in ‘Female Physique’. In those categories you have to wear bikinis, bling, and make-up; they require you to be ‘feminine’. But for men, there are no criteria for you to be ‘masculine’. In body building culture, femininity and masculinity are highly controlled and structured. In my own experience as a challenger to the system, it’s all about learning and unlearning social constructs.

COMPETING IN THE ‘FEMALE PHYSIQUE’ CATEGORY

SIU FUNG STRIKES A POSE ON STAGE

With the contest, spotlight, audience, and judges, what does the body building process mean to you?

I’m very inspired by this process. I realized that I had so many gender assumptions before I entered the contest. For example, I have a lot of assumptions about clothing. I’ve never worn bikinis before – my first time was for the stage. I realized that we put gender labels onto clothing, but once you remove the gender label from clothing, you no longer feel ashamed or embarrassed to wear them. In my second stage contest I had a different realization. I realized that I’ve been suppressing my femininity for the past 12 years. I now want to liberate and embrace my femininity too. I used to think that I’m not as pretty as other girls and so chose to be more masculine, androgynous…more neutral in high school. Later on, I embraced my masculinity and am now a transgender, socialized man. I am still more gender neutral, non-binary, because I realize that I can execute my femininity on stage. I like how I look on stage with my make-up on. I believe that every time I experience this tough process, I will have new realizations.

What does your body mean to you?

Our body is like a map: every time you put on tattoos, muscles, it’s like putting landmarks on your body. Every part of it represents a history of what you’ve undergone. Body building enables me to see my body outside of the ‘body versus mind’ binary. In common transgender studies, you’re told that you’re ‘trapped in the wrong body’, so you ‘correct’ your body to ‘match’ your mind. This metaphor is heavily criticized. Body building has enabled me to deconstruct this binary without constructing a new binary.

For me, working out is about connecting your body with your mind. For example, when I train my back muscles, I develop a picture of my back through my imagination from seeing different bodies, because our backs hard to see. Visualization: imagining I’m achieving that thickness and muscle mass makes the connection between my body and my mind.

My body is a genderless body. Masculinity is different to muscularity: having muscles doesn’t make you masculine. I’m muscular, not masculine. Muscles are just part of our human anatomy.

Taking your body as neutral, how does your body relate to your sexuality?

I’ve always considered myself as pansexual and so my sexuality itself is already flexible. I’ve had some interesting encounters recently as I’ve put my photos on social media. I’ve attracted a lot of straight guys who are into muscular women. I usually attract gay guys! I think that sexuality is not just about what kind of people you’re attracted to but also what kind of people you attract. Although straight men see me as a muscular woman, they accept my queerness. Depending on the context, I can be a handsome man and a pretty girl. Their understanding of gender has become liberated too.

How do your bodybuilding experiences inspire your advocacy?

I think education and visibility are most important. Education can change not just perceptions, but a generation. I believe that people don’t intentionally discriminate you; they just have a lack of understanding of certain issues. I give talks and expose myself to strangers about my own experiences. I want to tell those who are in the closet that it’s okay to be different. After sharing for 6 years now, I can see a change in young people’s attitudes. They’re more willing to engage in topics which are seldom discussed in society, including minorities’ rights and Trans experiences of hardship.

With the contest, spotlight, audience, and judges, what does the body building process mean to you?

I’m very inspired by this process. I realized that I had so many gender assumptions before I entered the contest. For example, I have a lot of assumptions about clothing. I’ve never worn bikinis before – my first time was for the stage. I realized that we put gender labels onto clothing, but once you remove the gender label from clothing, you no longer feel ashamed or embarrassed to wear them. In my second stage contest I had a different realization. I realized that I’ve been suppressing my femininity for the past 12 years. I now want to liberate and embrace my femininity too. I used to think that I’m not as pretty as other girls and so chose to be more masculine, androgynous…more neutral in high school. Later on, I embraced my masculinity and am now a transgender, socialized man. I am still more gender neutral, non-binary, because I realize that I can execute my femininity on stage. I like how I look on stage with my make-up on. I believe that every time I experience this tough process, I will have new realizations.

What does your body mean to you?

Our body is like a map: every time you put on tattoos, muscles, it’s like putting landmarks on your body. Every part of it represents a history of what you’ve undergone. Body building enables me to see my body outside of the ‘body versus mind’ binary. In common transgender studies, you’re told that you’re ‘trapped in the wrong body’, so you ‘correct’ your body to ‘match’ your mind. This metaphor is heavily criticized. Body building has enabled me to deconstruct this binary without constructing a new binary.

For me, working out is about connecting your body with your mind. For example, when I train my back muscles, I develop a picture of my back through my imagination from seeing different bodies, because our backs hard to see. Visualization: imagining I’m achieving that thickness and muscle mass makes the connection between my body and my mind.

My body is a genderless body. Masculinity is different to muscularity: having muscles doesn’t make you masculine. I’m muscular, not masculine. Muscles are just part of our human anatomy.

Taking your body as neutral, how does your body relate to your sexuality?

I’ve always considered myself as pansexual and so my sexuality itself is already flexible. I’ve had some interesting encounters recently as I’ve put my photos on social media. I’ve attracted a lot of straight guys who are into muscular women. I usually attract gay guys! I think that sexuality is not just about what kind of people you’re attracted to but also what kind of people you attract. Although straight men see me as a muscular woman, they accept my queerness. Depending on the context, I can be a handsome man and a pretty girl. Their understanding of gender has become liberated too.

How do your bodybuilding experiences inspire your advocacy?

I think education and visibility are most important. Education can change not just perceptions, but a generation. I believe that people don’t intentionally discriminate you; they just have a lack of understanding of certain issues. I give talks and expose myself to strangers about my own experiences. I want to tell those who are in the closet that it’s okay to be different. After sharing for 6 years now, I can see a change in young people’s attitudes. They’re more willing to engage in topics which are seldom discussed in society, including minorities’ rights and Trans experiences of hardship.

“ANATOMY.”

What is the first thought that comes to your mind?

Body neutrality. Anatomy is a very neutral word, contrary to ‘body’ where you think of a male or a female body. Anatomy is human and muscles – things that are neutral and don’t have gender assumptions attached.

What’s your involvement with the Gay Games?

I’m currently the Sports Director of the HK bidding team for the 2022 Gay Games. I’m in charge of submitting and drawing up our bid-book for a November deadline. The bid-book includes the 36 sports that we propose to host, including 3 new sports: dragon-boating, trail running, and tower running. Sports is a major part of the bid-book, but art and culture is another part. We’re having an academic conference related to gender and sexuality for the Games too.

The Gay Games is an inclusive, large community sports event. Despite the name, which is a bit problematic, it is inclusive. No matter if you are straight, international, local, however you identify, you are invited to join. The name resists local sports organizations as HK is still conservative, especially in sports, so it may be a challenge to lobby with local sports organizations.

Having only been hosted in Western parts of the world, what sort of awareness do you hope it will raise?

We are the first Asian city who has been shortlisted to host the Games. It is significant not only to the local community but also to other Asian cities and countries. HK has potential as an ‘international city’ to be an example. We are accessible and can showcase our vibrant LGBT community to the mainstream.

How can the Games undo stereotypes on sports and sexuality in HK?

Education and visibility can relieve misconceptions of sexual and gender minorities. Throughout the 9 days of the games, LGBT people from all over the world will interact with our city. This will prove that HK people do excel in sports, making a point to the government that we’re more than just a financial hub.

Hosting the Gay Games is not only about raising awareness towards LGBT issues; it is also about engaging ourselves in sports in a more inclusive way. Sports are our main emphasis.

Support the bidding by joining the fundraising events on the “Gay Games XI Hong Kong 2022” Facebook page!

 



About the Author
Jason

Jason

A lover of music, literature, drunk dancing, and creating. My creations revolve around instantaneous inspiration and thump to heavy dance beats; nothing should ever remain static. An English literature student and GaGa’s biggest fan, driven by the creatives who I am blessed to be around.

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